The Country's Current Worst Job

As of yesterday, Monique Bond officially has one of the worst jobs in the country. Monique is a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department and was responsible for briefing the media yesterday regarding one of the most unbelievable police stories that I can remember hearing. Reportedly, a 14 year old police impersonator worked a shift at Ms. Bond's agency without the ruse being discovered (until the shift was over or near over).

Here is a shortened version of the story with the numbers referring to my comments below:

…The boy, who has been charged as a juvenile with impersonating an officer, walked into the Grand Crossing (3rd) District station, 7040 S. Cottage Grove Ave., dressed in a Chicago police uniform, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The boy, who reported for duty about 1:30 p.m., partnered with another police officer for about five hours (1).

The boy identified himself as an officer from another district but was detailed for the day to Grand Crossing and also was savvy enough to sign out a police radio and a ticket book, according to a source. The source also said the boy went on traffic stops with the officer he went on the street with.

Bond said the boy "did not write tickets" and said there was "no information to indicate that he [was] ever behind the wheel."

At an afternoon news conference police said the boy had no interaction with the public (2).

...(A source said) the boy had an empty holster and a newspaper in place of a ballistic vest in his vest carrier. (3)

"The boy was not armed and the matter is under investigation with Internal Affairs," Bond said...(4)
1-Some of the officers on were most critical of personnel not realizing that the impersonator was only 14. I think the age is less troubling in that he could have waited for 3 years, and tried the same thing at age 17. I have seen 14 year olds that looked 22, and appearance can certainly be deceiving. My point is that even the most basic security measures at a law enforcement agency should prevent this situation from occurring. If looks are an agency’s primary defense against impersonators then their security protocols are porous. It also makes me wonder if he or someone else (maybe older) has not successfully pulled this hoax off previously.

2-I don't believe that an officer out on patrol for five hours had “no interaction” with the public. Patrol work involves dealing with the public and is an interactive job. I think they meant to say "limited interactions."

3-I had to look up the term “vest carrier” to verify that I knew what they were talking about. I am a strong advocate for wearing a ballistic vest all the time when in uniform (making the carrier unnecessary). The only reasonable argument that I have heard from officers opposed to mandated vest wearing is for those sworn who work in 100+ degree weather consistently in that the extra gear makes it too hot. Having worn one for years (occasionally on 100 degree days), I realize that they are uncomfortable regardless of the temperature, but this incident occurred in frigid Chicago—-officers should be wearing a vest while in uniform.

4-A teen with no badge and no gun walks into the station and says “Ok, I am ready to work today.” Not only did supervisors fail to follow even the most general of security measures, it tells me that the station lacks or uses antiquated technology. Shift personnel data should be coded at the beginning of a shift, when the supervisors entered the roster for that period, something should have flagged the suspicious newbie based on his employment information. Also, personnel should not be permitted to float from precinct to precinct without documentation that accompanies them.

I hope for the department's sake that there are many mitigating factors that are determined later in the investigation. Effective policing is based on trust between officers and citizens. This successful and easy deception of department officials has shaken public confidence in their police department, and the agency will have to work that much harder to regain that trust.

I do not envy Ms. Bond as she will continue to try to answer questions about an incident that has the public rightfully questioning the intelligence of all involved and will make her agency the punch line of an endless stream of jokes for years to come.